Video Physiotherapy Appointments
March 27, 2020
How can you make the most of your video physiotherapy consultation?
Video consultations have been used within the medical and healthcare field for some time now, successfully being implemented in medical research, training and education as well as patient care. The rise in video consultations generally is partly due to the many benefits it brings, including
- Time saving – no more sitting in traffic! No more sitting in a waiting room! No more therapist running late because the last patient was stuck in traffic! If you are having to take time away from work, your employers may even request that you work that time back, so by cutting out travel time, you are keeping that time owed to a minimum and keeping it for yourself.
- Cost Saving – not only do you save in petrol and parking charges, but also the time away from work which can often be costly for you or your employer.
- Convenience – the video physiotherapy appointment can be almost anywhere, anytime! As long as you are somewhere with access to a web browser and good internet connection, you are good to go. This means that even if you are on holiday, at home sick or are stuck at work, you can still see your physiotherapist when it suits you. No more waiting for an appointment time that is convenient!
Due to the devastating effects of the COVID-19 epidemic in recent weeks, physiotherapists now find ourselves in a situation where face to face appointments are no longer an option, and so it is more important than ever that we embrace the technologies on offer to optimize outcomes of video physiotherapy consultations. Here are 5 tips to help you get the most out of your video consultation with your physiotherapist.
- Have the right technology and know how to use it.
A good internet connection goes without saying, but make sure prior to your appointment that you are clear in how the appointment will happen, what software you need, how you will connect and how to get help at the time. It is useful to get all of this information from the clinic prior to the appointment, and even practice connecting well in advance of the appointment, so you don’t waste valuable time within the appointment doing this.
- Choose the right area if possible.
A thorough physiotherapy assessment would involve observation of the symptomatic area as well as overall postures, movement of the symptomatic area, global ‘whole body’ movement patterns, as well as specific special tests that may require you to be sitting, standing or lying down. So for the most thorough assessment possible, make sure the space you choose for your consultation is large enough for you to stand back so your physiotherapist can see all of you, has somewhere you can lie down that the camera can see (the floor will often do), and a supportive chair readily available. The space you choose should also have good lighting so your therapist can see all they need to, but should also be as private as possible.
Privacy is important for 2 reasons. Firstly, there may be aspects of your health or medical history that are important for your therapist to know but you may feel uncomfortable sharing in the earshot of others. Secondly, dependent on the symptomatic area, the therapist may require you to remove some aspects of clothing in order to better observe the symptomatic area and surrounding areas.
- Prepare before the appointment.
Your physiotherapist will ask about your medical history, what medications you are on, and any scan results (among other things). Make sure you have this information on hand so valuable time isn’t wasted while you hunt it out or try to remember! Your physiotherapist will also ask many questions about your symptoms, how they behave, what they respond positively to and negatively to, what time of day they seem to be better or worse. In the days before your appointment, it is often useful to write a symptom diary so you can answer these questions quickly, easily and with certainty.
- Ask many questions!
Your physiotherapist is a fountain of knowledge and is there to help you understand what is going on and the best way to improve the situation, so if you have any questions, however stupid you feel they may be, ask away! The more you ask the more you will understand and be better informed to help yourself get better faster.
- Summarise what you have been told back to your physiotherapist.
This way both you and your physiotherapist will know that you have understood everything correctly and this will highlight any areas of miscommunication or gaps in understanding.